German tabloid reveals who blocked NATO arms supplies to Ukraine
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally blocked NATO from supplying arms to Ukraine by using its veto within the structure of the US-led military bloc, Berlin tabloid Bild claimed on Tuesday.
Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper reported that, in May, Germany blocked the delivery of US Barrett rifles and Lithuanian anti-drone rifles, which were already paid for by the Ukrainians. Bild also reports that Merkel’s government enlisted the support of the Netherlands, and therefore Berlin was not the only opponent of weapons supplies.
Furthermore, the German tabloid claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky personally asked Merkel to remove the ban on supplies during the former chancellor’s trip to Kiev last August, but it was ruled out.
If true, the report would appear to confirm accusations made by Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, who told the Financial Times on Sunday that Germany was blocking arms deliveries to the country through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, forcing Kiev to buy weapons through bilateral agreements with individual countries.
On Sunday, Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik said that Kiev should not expect arms supplies from Berlin under new Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to Melnik, the new government in Berlin will likely maintain the same “illogical” position as Merkel’s administration, claiming that Ukraine needs the weapons to defend itself from Russia, which Kiev believes is occupying parts of the country.
“This is very disappointing because right now the moment of truth has come for us, the time has come to understand who is a true friend, not only in words but also in deeds,” Melnik told online publication ZN.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba revealed the EU had decided to provide Ukraine with €31 million ($35 million) to strengthen its defense capabilities.